Charlotte Harkness thinks there is a quiet grace and dignity among the dead. Well, as long as they’re not feeling chatty.
I'm thrilled to welcome Author Mary Culler today, LAUNCH DAY for her new book, The Undertaker's Daughter. The book looks absolutely fabulous! We have all the information plus an excerpt. But I thought it might be fun to learn more about Mary first. Here's our interview.
1) Hi, Mary! What sort of books did you enjoy reading as a child? Did you have a favorite book or series?
I loved The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Books, Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and Baby-Sitters Club.
2) What sort of books do you enjoy reading nowadays?
Mysteries and fantasy with romantic subplots.
3) Around what age did you realize that you liked to write? And when did you know that you wanted to write books?
I realized it very early on, when I was in second or third grade and I realized that if I didn’t like reality I could rewrite it.
4) What’s the first thing you wrote that you remember being proud of?
I wrote a whole short story (I thought it was a novel) that was a historical fiction romance when I was in 6th grade, but my mother didn’t like it, so I stopped showing anyone my writing for a long time.
5) Tell us about the creative force within you. What inspires you to write, to create?
I like taking pain and turning it into something positive.
I find that both amazing and inspiring.
6) What’s your writing space like?
Space? What’s that? I have a corner of a table and my husband has made me a portable office because he’s the BEST.
7) Do you have a favorite time of day to write? Any habits or little rituals that put you in a writing mindset?
I love writing any time, anywhere. One thing that helps me crank it up is sprinting with other writers and working toward a certain word count per sprint, like 500 words in 15 minutes.
8) Congratulations on your new release! How did you come up with the idea for your book? Please tell us all about it.
My Undertaker’s Daughter Series was originally a trilogy, but it’s being released as one big, fat novel. The strange thought that started it all was that someone is a serial killer’s first victim—what if the people around the crime were fast and drastic enough to stop him before he killed again? I created the character of strong-willed Charlotte Harkness, an undertaker’s daughter who hates Victorian gender constraints. When a beautiful young woman turns up at her father’s funeral parlor, she joins forces with someone else who takes her fears seriously—the victim’s brother, Dr. James Everly. James is far above her station. In Victorian times, they wouldn’t have mingled, so to solve the crime, they form a fake courtship. As clues pile up, Charlotte and James’ feelings turn real and so does the danger.
9) I realize you’ve just published a new book and I know what that takes. Still, I can’t help but ask – do you have another story waiting on the backburner?
About twenty! But, a handful at a time!
What are you working on now?
I’m working on The Earl’s Christmas Contest to offer to The Wild Rose Press.
10) Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I hope you have fun reading and I’d love to see you at my online book hideaway, Book Dragons!
Mary, thank you for sharing your time, talent, and RELEASE DAY with us! Wishing you continued joy and success.
Now let's learn a bit more about The Undertaker's Daughter.
What if Jack the Ripper was stopped before he ever got started?
Charlotte Harkness has (quite cheerfully) accepted that she’ll never find love. An undertaker’s daughter who reads embalming manuals and hears the dearly departed? It’s enough to make any Victorian patriarch despair.
When Lavinia Everly’s corpse arrives at Harkness and Sons, Charlotte is tormented by the girl’s final memories, her death at the hands of the mysterious “Jack.” Charlotte knows she must find the killer before madness consumes her.
Dr. James Everly shuns society’s rules to find out who killed his little sister. When he joins forces with the undertaker’s daughter, he never expected his new ally to be so quick-witted and beautiful.
James and Charlotte agree to pose as a courting couple to continue their investigations. Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan.
As danger mounts, Charlotte and James race to stop “Jack” before he can strike again. Will they succeed, or become the next victims on his list?
Excerpt from The Undertaker's Daughter
“Do you know what it feels like when no one believes you?”
“I do now. Intimately,” James chuckled bitterly.
“Some people,” she paused, knowing she had to tread carefully, “think that simply because they haven’t seen a thing, it can’t be so.”
“Exactly, but you have seen it!” He seized upon this point eagerly.
Not so much a matter of seeing, but of hearing, she thought woefully. “I’d like to tell you something. You must promise to hear me out. I’d like you to believe me, as I believe you.”
Puzzled, he nodded.
“I can help you. I may have the lead that you need, something even the police don’t know.”
“What? You do? How?” James leaned forward and grasped her hand, so grateful that he forgot all sense of propriety.
“The man who did this to your sister? His name is Jack, and Lavinia knew him well, well enough to have seen him before that night, anyway.”
“But… but this is incredible. My Lord, the name of the murderer! Oh, Miss Harkness, I cannot thank you enough. Tell me, how did you find this out?”
“I heard it, Dr. Everly. From beyond the grave. Lavinia’s spirit allowed me to hear her final moments.”
About the Author
Bestselling author M. Culler can’t stick to just one genre. She writes fantasy, mystery, and all flavors of romance. M.Culler lives in historic Chester County, Pennsylvania, where potentially haunted battlegrounds and 18th century buildings serve as neverending inspiration. M.Culler lives for her two brilliant children (mini-bookworms), her gorgeous husband, her endlessly entertaining students, and her wonderful community. If she’s not hunched over a laptop, you’ll find her baking up a storm in the kitchen, playing board games, or watching Brit Coms. Soli Deo Gloria.
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It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
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